September 23, 2004

Orlando Magic. After spending two days with his wife in Colombia, Orlando Cabrera flew overnight Tuesday from Bogata to New York. He grabbed a newspaper in the airport and read about Mark Bellhorn's 9th-inning heroics during a second flight that landed in Boston at 10 am Wednesday. When he got to his apartment, he called Terry Francona: "I'd like for you to let me back in the lineup."

Twelve hours or so later, Cabrera, who drove in Boston's first run of the game, brought home the last, drilling a solo home run into the Monster Seats. Boston's 12-inning 7-6 win brought the Sox to 3½ games behind the Yankees (they lead the wild card race by 6½ games). ... When Cabrera reached the mob at home plate, "They started hitting me. I don't know who it was, I think it was Manny, tried to take my pants off. I think it was Manny. Or Millar. One of those two guys."

Before Cabrera's shot, the Red Sox escaped a nasty jam with some superb fielding. Singles by Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada began the top of the 12th and a bunt put them on 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out. Curtis Leskanic: "You ever (stick your hand) in a blender? That's what that situation felt like." ... The Sox walked Javy Lopez to load the bases. Jay Gibbons helped out by smacking an 0-2 pitch on one hard hop right to Doug Mientkiewicz at first. He fired home for one out and Jason Varitek threw a seed to Pokey Reese at first, completing the 3-2-4 double play and ending the inning.

For the third time in three nights, Keith Foulke allowed a ninth-inning home run. Rafael Palmeiro began the 9th last night with a solo homer down the right field line that erased a 6-5 Sox lead. ... Foulke has thrown 19-21-22 pitches in the last three nights. The last time he appeared in three consecutive games -- August 16-17-18 -- Foulke threw 24-12-23 and was hit hard in the third game of that run.

The win was the Red Sox's 8th straight one-run victory (once 8-17, they are now 16-17). ... Ellis Burks may be activated today. It appears the club wants to give him one final appearance at Fenway. The team's last home game is Sunday against New York. ... Mark Bellhorn struck out three times to set a new club record. Bellhorn now has 164, topping Butch Hobson's 1977 mark of 162.

ALDS: Pedro on who should start Game 1 of the ALDS: "It really doesn't matter. I've done my share of good things with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling has come to a position where he's earned the respect to pitch any game they give him. ... He's got better numbers right now, so I wouldn't be surprised if they have him pitch the first game. I wouldn't mind it, really. I'd just pitch my game whenever that is. I just want an opportunity to be a part of it. ... I want to have my name on the Green Monster when we win. That's all." ... Eric Wilbur wonders if Tito should pitch Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 of the ALDS, taking advantage of his better stats on the road. ... Steven Krasner of the Providence Journal has more info.

Lowe/Daniel "No Relation" Cabrera at 7:05 pm. ... The Yankees host Tampa Bay at 3:05 pm. ... After going 5-for-5, Ichiro went 4-for-6 as Seattle routed Anaheim 16-6. He now has 247 hits -- 10 shy of Sisler's record, with 10 games remaining.

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